‘Caranna’ and the Cobcrofts
Featured Image: Denise and John Cobcroft at a Sydney ball in 1974
Picture: Rick Stevens Caroline Overington The Australian 12:00AM November 1, 2017
Stop Press: The Everest 2019
Fully franking the enormous contribution made by the Cobcroft family to Australian Racing and Breeding was the brilliant success of ‘Yes Yes Yes’ in the 3rd. running of ‘The Everest’ at Royal Randwick on Saturday 19th October 2019. In a white hot field of sprinters the 3yo winner recorded a track record time of 1 minute 7.23 seconds.
Tony Arrold writes in ‘The Australian’ (21/10/19) that ‘Yes Yes Yes’ is the third living foal of Sin Sin Sin, whose moment of glory was the 2008 Wellington Boot (1000 metres) in country NSW before thudding to earth to finish last of 12 next time out in the Group II Magic Night Stakes in Sydney.
Subsequently a winner over 1000m at Albury and Gundagai, Sin Sin Sin is a member of a prolific winning speed family developed by the prominent NSW Cobcroft family through the likes of Group I Randwick Galaxy winner Salaam, stakes winning Hot As Hell and Hell It’s Hot, the dam of In Her Time, a Galaxy winner in the third running of The Everest.
Johnny fought hard to make sure the great grand-dams Vistaed and Vista Anna were returned to the General Stud Book all those years ago. It all seems eminently worth it now although Johnny is no longer around to savour the moment(s).
Brian Russell writes:
Corrected Stud Book sin reaches new heights
Rectification in the 1970s of a sin of omission from the Stud Book in the first half of last century by the Cobcrofts of ‘Parraweena’, Willowtree NSW, a centre midway between Scone and Tamworth, saved breeding the loss of a family which reached ‘everest’ heights when a descendent, Yes Yes Yes, captured the $14 million ‘The TAB Everest’ over 1200m at Randwick in new track record time.
Now trained by Chris Waller, after starting off in Victoria with since disqualified Darren Weir, and ridden by Glen Boss, this 3yo Rubick colt raced by a tribe of owners including Tom Magnier (Coolmore) traces back four generations to Vista Anna, the Cobcroft mare readmitted to the Stud Book.
A good Sydney sprinter bred and raced by the Cobcrofts, Vista Anna became ancestress of more than fifty Cobcroft winners including 15 successful in stakes. She was by Caranna, a top Australian performer got at the Widden Stud by the imported Valognes (GB) (Bois Roussel) bred and raced by the Cobrofts. His efforts included wins in the AJC Derby, Rosehill Guineas and Caulfield Guineas, a second in the Sydney Cup and third in the Melbourne Cup – won by Evening Peal.
Performers bred by the Cobcrofts descending from Vista Anna have included Under the Louvre (Excellent Art (GB), 9 wins, $1,827,701, won Brisbane’s Stradbroke, runner up MRC Oakleigh Plate, SAJC Goodwood), siblings Hot As Hell (9 wins, AJC Shorts, June Stakes-twice) and Flaming Hot (9 wins, NSW Tatts Carrington Stakes, second San Domenico).
Both by the Vain sprinter County, Hot As Hell and Flaming Hot were half-brothers to Zeditave minor winner Hell It’s Hot, dam of the Cobcroft bred In Her Time (by Redoute’s Choice sire Time Thief). Now seven, the Chris Lees conditioned In Her Time has contested 26 races for nine wins and $3.5million.
She has challenged in the Everest twice, this year (first outing since early March) and 2018, finishing mid field on each occasion.
All these performers except this year’s Everest winner Yes Yes Yes carried the Cobcroft brand, one controlled by John Cobcroft for nearly half a century until his untimely death in 2005, one followed five years later by his wife Denise.
Some of the mares, including Sin Sin Sin ($34,000 in Sydney), the subsequent dam of Yes Yes Yes, were sold, and the others retained and placed in the care of Fred and Mary Moses at Kanangra Park, Scone.They bred In Her Time and Under the Louvre for the Estate.
Bred by Arlington Park Racing, NSW and sold at the Gold Coast Yearling Sale through Kitchwin Hills, Scone for $200,000 to Darren Weir/John Foote, Yes Yes Yes has contested eight races for four wins (the Everest and Todman 2yo Stakes-G2 and two juveniles in Melbourne) and three seconds, including the Run to the Rose and the Golden Rose. He has earned $7,174,450.
The dam Sin Sin Sin is a Cobcroft bred mare who won the Wellington Boot, a NSW country feature juvenile race, for them. She is by Fantastic Light (USA) (by Blushing Groom sire Rahy), a winner of the American Breeders’ Cup Turf, Man o’War Stakes, Hong Kong Cup, Irish Champion Stakes and GB Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
A Darley used dual hemisphere sire who visited the Hunter Valley five times, 2002-05, Fantastic Light to date has had dams of over 500 winners world-wide, 39 of them in stakes races.
Sin Sin Sin has had three named foals for three city winners. One of the others, the Duporth mare Dee Nine Elle, was a good Brisbane sprinter. Breeding for Glentree Pastoral Vic, she produced her first foal in 2018, a colt in the first crop of Merchant Navy, a world class Australian sprinter in use at Coolmore Hunter Valley and Ireland.
I’ve labelled this as being about really good race horse ‘Carannna’ but he’s actually only the lynchpin. It’s all about his owners; the Cobcroft Family of ‘Willowtree’. If you want to know about Caranna the racehorse and stallion visit Ian Ibbett’s great website:
The story of ‘Caranna’s win in the 1955 AJC Derby is a great one. The Cobcroft Brothers Gavin and Arthur were the very fabric of the then ruling rural realm of extremely successful farmers and graziers. They were also the embodiment of the post-WWII veterans who returned to a ‘land of plenty’ in the massive wool boom of the same era. They were hedonistic as well as halcyon days. They all deserved their rich rewards. Fellow genre grazier and North African veteran J K Thompson of ‘Ballantyne’, Cassillis ran second in the race with ‘Gay Rannick’. The winners’ enclosure would have resounded wildly and loudly to the bards from the bush. I’ll wager there were some massive side-bets and negotiable bragging rights?
As for ‘Caranna’; he finished his undistinguished stud career at Geoff and Bev Adams ‘Sans Tache’ Stud Farm, Dry Creek Road, Parkville, near Scone. I think the Adams’ Charolais Cattle showed more dash than most of the progeny of Caranna? I do recall a useful bush galloper ‘Caranaed’ (Caranna/Vistaed) raced by Johnny and trained at Scone by Wilf ‘Wiffo’ Barker.
Denise had a heart of gold as depicted as follows:
Denise Cobcroft estate offers amazing donation
15 July, 2017
A donation of $400,000 has been made to the National Jockeys Trust with a blessing from Denise Cobcroft, the single biggest donation since its inception in 2004.
The donation was made at the National Jockeys Trust luncheon at Caulfield on Saturday by the Denise Cobcroft Breeding Trust.
The Trust was established as a result of a conversation that Denise had with Bob Charley prior to her passing.
Charley explained that Cobcroft made a plea for him to continue breeding with her mares and that the proceeds would be used to help injured jockeys.
“Denise Cobcroft was known as a charismatic, warm-hearted, titian-haired beauty with dancer’s legs and abiding love of animals. It was Denise’s desire that the money should benefit injured jockeys so it gives the Trustees great satisfaction to have been able to fulfil the wishes of this beautiful friend,” said Bob Charley AO.
Charley is one of three Trustees along with Peter Brown and Fred Moses.
“The bequest from the Breeding Estate of Denise Cobcroft is the largest donation ever received by the National Jockeys Trust,” said Paul Innes, Chairman of the National Jockeys Trust.
“It is extremely humbling to formally acknowledge this donation, on behalf of the National Jockeys Trust Board of Trustees and most importantly the beneficiaries of the National Jockeys Trust.
“We would like to thank the Trustees Peter Brown, Bob Charley AO and Fred Moses for their management of the Trust and for making this presentation.”
Denise Cobcroft was the daughter of a Hollywood actor and her Uncle was an Oscar winner. She was a dancer in London and worked in film and theatre across New York, Paris and New Zealand.
She eventually came to Melbourne and appeared on the Don Lane and Barry Creighton Shows before forming a strong affinity with animals.
Denise met her husband and soul mate of four decades at the 1966 Singleton Horseshow. John was a wonderful horseman, playing polo for Australia alongside brother Brian who represented Australia in the Olympic Games.
John and Denise made a striking couple, who loved their life on the horse and cattle property Parraweena, where Denise continued her great passion for horses, dogs and breeding and judging poultry.
Denise Cobcroft passed away in 2010, five years after her husband John in 2005.
The Cobcroft racing story begins with the success of Caranna (1955 AJC Derby, Rosehill Guineas, Caulfield Guineas etc); raced by John’s father. The Cobcrofts raced and/or bred many stakes winners including Salaam, Big Circle, Hot as Hell, Flaming Hot, Pekalan, Momentaire, Key Issue.
See also: https://njt.org.au/bequests/